Newswest 9 | Midland, Texas | newswest9.com

Auto theft reaches all-time high

OPD says in 2019, 431 vehicles have been reported stolen, including 61 in just in the month of October.

ODESSA, Texas — With colder temperatures, police encourage you to not leave your car running to warm up while you get ready for work.

“The vast majority of all these vehicles being stolen in Odessa are being stolen as a result of them leaving the key in the ignition or a spare key in the vehicle," said Steve LeSueur, public information officer, Odessa Police Department.

Not only that, leaving your keys in your ignition unattended is illegal and can lead to a $140 fine.

“I can’t even remember the last time a vehicle being stolen here in Odessa because it was hot-wired," said LeSueur.

In fact, OPD says so far in 2019, 431 vehicles have been reported stolen, including 61 in just in the month of October.

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“Two of the prime examples are people going out in the early morning hours to start their vehicle because it’s extremely cold. They’ll go out, start their vehicle and go back inside their house and come back to a stolen vehicle. This happens to people who thinks this will never happen to them. Or they’ll go into a convenient store and run in really quick and leave their engine running with the key in the ignition. And same thing, they’ll come back and their vehicle is gone," said LeSueur.

If it is a bad habit you don’t think you are capable of breaking, or if this is just a chance you’re willing to take, Officer LeSueur has a better alternative for you.

“One solution is you can buy a remote start device, which usually cost anywhere from a couple hundred bucks, few hundred dollars. It's absolutely worth it, because it’s not worth the cost of the 140 dollar citation, plus the hassle of having your vehicle stolen," said LeSueur. "You also have go through the process of contacting your insurance company, it's making you late to work, whatever. It’s definitely a burden for a lot of reasons so it’s simply not worth it."

Officials ask that you report all suspicious activity, suspicious persons, and suspicious vehicles to your local police department.

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